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April 29, 2015

Le Petit Mouton de Mouton and d’Armailhac 2014

mouton (4)

Le Petit Mouton de Mouton, the second wine Mouton Rothschild, released alongside Mouton this morning at £61.25 ex-London, equal to last year. Petit Mouton has proven hugely popular, with most merchants raising their prices to £800 per ase of 12 on the back of strong demand. The reason for this demand is Petit Mouton’s past performance. Over the last 10 years Petit Mouton can boast a 72.6% return. In fact Petit Mouton was documented by Harpers Magazine as the best en primeur wine in terms of returns, ‘with release prices of €48.80 per bottle having risen to an average price of €116.30′. Only the 2010 vintage, which released at the hugely ambitious price of £112.5 per bottle currently has a negative return on investment; they addressed this in 2011 and the 2014 is even cheaper. Mouton Rothschild has firmly become the favourite first growth over the last few years and its second wine Petit Mouton the best performing. As one can see from the table below it performs extremely well from barrel to bottle and even 2013 has already seen a price increase of 17% since last year – it is a no brainier.

table1

Le Petit Mouton de Mouton 2014, 6×75 – £375 or 12×75 – £750 EP
James Suckling 93-94
This is so typical of cabernet. Wow. Full body, round and velvety tannins and lots of earthy, spicy and berry character. Juicy and long. Gorgeous. 93% cabernet sauvignon and the rest is merlot. Not really a second wine of Mouton. Excellent.
Wine Spectator Score: 91-94
This has a lightly dusty frame, but is plump overall, with delightful plum, raspberry and red currant fruit at the core. Singed alder and vanilla notes are subtle and nicely integrated, with a very elegant feel through the finish. Tasted non-blind.

Chateau d’Armailhac also released this morning, a wine James Suckling rates as ‘One of the best Armailhacs in a long time’, scoring it potentially higher than the 2009 and 2010, with 93-94 points. James Molesworth calls it ‘textbook Pauillac’, we agree, and a high quality Pauillac for under £20 a bottle represents a stunning option from the Mouton Rothschild stable. We were thoroughly impressed with this wine from barrel and it offers incredible value for money at £18.75 per bottle, 11% reduction on 2013. It also represents a 40% reduction on the similar scoring 2010, which interestingly, despite the rampant speculation in 2010 has held its value well.

table2

Chateau d’Armailhac was previously part of the Mouton Rothschild vineyards. As such it boasts impressively deep gravel, 20% of which is clay-limestone, and the vines have the very impressive average age of 46 years, with one fifth of the vines dating back to 1890. Baron Philippe de Rothschild bought the estate in 1933 and the 50 hectares of vineyards are planted with 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. The Cabernet Franc famously provides a wonderful fragrance, the high percentage sets it apart from Mouton’s other wines. Chateau d’Armailhac is a Fifth Growth in its own right and as one can imagine the combination of superb terroir and access to Mouton’s winemaking makes this wine an astute purchase, the value for money is fantastic.

d’Armailhac 2014, 6×75 – £112.50 or 12×75 – £225 EP
James Suckling 93-94
Very minerally, silky and refined with a full body, firm tannins and currants, stones and citrus. Racy and fine. This has a little more merlot in the blend but is mostly cabernet sauvignon as always. One of the best Armailhacs in a long time.
Wine Spectator Score: 90-93
Bright, juicy and engaging, with a racy damson plum and red currant core striped with singed cedar and vanilla and backed by a good twinge of iron. This is brisk and pleasantly taut. Textbook Pauillac. Tasted non-blind.

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